Saipan Soccer School visited three Headstart centers this week to present Christmas gifts to children.
The gift-giving activity started last Tuesday with SSS staff and Chelsea FC Soccer School Hong Kong coaches meeting children and teachers at Headstart centers in Chalan Kanoa and San Antonio. The final stop was the Joaquina M. Rabauliman Head Start Center in Chinatown last Wednesday. SSS staff members Angie Ito, Jershwin Angeles, Russell Zapanta, and Irish Pagarao and Chelsea FC’s Wai Wo Lee and Takemoto Suzuki went to these centers in the morning and afternoon, distributing gifts to more than 300 children. Each gift contains coloring books and crayons.
When asked why SSS chose to present gifts to Headstart centers, Angeles said the school wants to focus on grassroots level.
“These are the future CNMI national players. We went to instill interest to the sport to these kids,” said Angeles, who with other SSS staff and Chelsea coaches had also visited the centers in the past years to conduct soccer clinics.
“Early next year, we will be back kids and teachers so we can play soccer again,” Angeles told the children at the JMR Headstart Center.
SSS has been visiting schools to have soccer clinics and present Christmas gifts to children for the past three years and Lee was part of these occasions.
“It’s nice to know the kids remember us when we come back to the center. They call us coaches and ask us when are we going to play next,” Lee said.
Suzuki, a first-timer in SSS’ gift-giving program, said seeing the kids smile and behave well while waiting for their turns to receive their gifts makes him feel the holiday spirit more.
Carol Camacho and Lanelle Okawa, who teach at the JMS Headstart Center, thanked SSS, its officials, and staff for creating programs for their students. Okawa said soccer drills help their students develop motor skills. Camacho, on the other hand, said her students were excited to receive their Christmas presents early.
Angeles said they will continue the gift-giving program next year and possibly include the Headstart center in Oleai in their 2014 calendar.
“To all the Headstart centers we visited, thank you for accommodating us. We will see you next year for more fun and more soccer,” Angeles said.
Meanwhile, SSS will kick off its holiday co-ed futsal league this Saturday at the TSL Sports Complex. Four U13 teams will be playing in the league—Fake Madrid, Kanoa Mighty Orange, Astig Futsal, and Footloose.
Squads will compete in the double-round robin tournament with the Top 2 advancing to the finals. Saturday matches are set for 4pm and 5pm, while Monday and Friday games are scheduled for 5:30pm and 6:30pm.